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Event Photography for Festivals – Ten Tips on How to Photograph a Festival

Event Photography for Festivals – Ten Tips on How to Photograph a Festival

Lensi Photography offer event photography for festivals and all types of events, from conferences to corporate events to personal events.

This year Lensi Photography were one of the event photographers for The Parklife Festival in Manchester. As always The Parklife Festival 2015 did not disappoint, a great mixture of Artists and DJ’s, a myriad of tents and stages that festival goers would be entertained by, great security and planning, all in all a great festival.

If you are a photographer, and are covering a festival for the first time, this blog may be of use.

HOW TO COVER A FESTIVAL

1 – GET THERE IN PLENTY TIME BEFORE THE FIRST ACT YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH

Photographers will all give you stories of no one knowing how to direct them to the press room, confirmed passes not being where they should be, having to drag heavy kit across a field of drunk revellers or the press room simply being miles away.

 

So if the first act you plan to shoot is on at 1, get there at at least 12, especially on the first day.

2 – FOOTWEAR AND CLOTHING

As a photographer, although it is hard work covering a festival (wear the most comfy footwear you have) and don’t be fooled by there being no rain, the festival WILL be muddy, wear your your wellies to be safe. Also bring a number of layers to pile on as it gets colder in the evening, I started out in shorts and a top, built up to a sweater, then a hoody on top of that, then changed shorts for leggings, and finally added a coat … once the sun drops it gets pretty cold, and although it may look and feel great in the day to be in your summer festival clothes, many women looked on at me envious by the time night came.

 

3 – ACTS PERFORMING

Know your acts!! There will be a host of celebrities and public figuresThe highlight of this years festival for me was Grace Jones, what a legend! What an honour to be able to shoot (photograph in none photographer speak)  someone like her, the trail blazer for artists like Lady Gaga, and even at age 67, she still has it, and all minus cosmetic surgery! The press pit was full for her performance, which shows this was the shot that everyone wanted.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

It will be impossible to cover everything, so work out who you want to cover beforehand or at the start of the day so that you have a plan. This will depend on who you are shooting for, some photographers need lots of crowd shots, some only need main stage acts and so on, you just need to be clear on what you need to shoot.

 

4 – EQUIPMENT

I carry two bodies on a Black Rapid Double Strap to a festival like this. Two Canon 5d3’s a wide angle and a telephoto zoom, one body would be lighter, but I prefer to carry two for speed when a shot appears and you need to suddenly have a different angle. Carrying my camera around my neck simply does not work for me, its painful and uncomfortable, being able to carry my equipment on my body is much more comfortable.

 

Some photographers also bring a 300mm (or above) in case we have a shoot from the mixer. Others also bring a super wide angle (if we are really close to the stage) or a fish eye (for those fun type shots), but this is just too much to carry around for me.

 

5 – WALKING, GETTING TO AND FROM STAGES

Most photographers will be filing back to their respective agencies / magazines / publications, so there will be a lot of time spent doing and fringe getting to the various stages, then heading back to the press room to upload your images. A plus for this year was that we were transported via buggy a few times, which really saved on the legs! (image courtesy of fellow tog and Friend Paul Torode)

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6 – HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT TYPES OF IMAGES YOU WANT

Research images from pervious events, it will give you an idea of what kind of spaces and backdrops you will be working with. From an image point of view images taken at night or in the various tents look amazing as the lighting is always well put together.

 

The more you photograph these events the more you learn and know what to look out for, for example Rudimental who have won awards for their festival performances always enter stage with a jump from their front guy, going out into the crowd to shot the main stage from far away once your press pit time is over also may get you some exclusives as well as a great full stage shots, such as the ‘Disclosure’ shot in this set.

I also shoot video snippets (which can be found on our YouTube Channel) as it adds a little more life to your coverage, and is great for most agencies and publications.

 

7 – SHOOT WIDE AND TIGHT, NEAR AND FAR, USE YOUR 15 MINS / THREE SONGS WISELY

You will get the first three songs or 15 minutes of a DJ set in the pit. Use this time effectively. Resist any temptation you may have to let go and enjoy the music, you are not there to party! Get your shots, and then you may relax for a bit …until you have to head to the next stage.

It can be tempting to get close up shots of some of your favourite artists, shots where they can clearly be seen, but be sure to also get wide ones, where they form a tiny part of the image. Some of my favourite shots from this year are shot way away from the stage, after your time has finished in the pit, don’t be scared to walk into the crowd to get a different angle. I shot these once our 15 mins were finished in the pit.

House DJ Duo Disclosure close Day one of Parklife 2015 performing live on stage

House DJ Duo Disclosure close Day one of Parklife 2015 performing live on stage

Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester

Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

Stage Crowdsshots at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 – MAKE FRIENDS!

Your first time at a festival can be daunting! The pros will know where to go for what time, the quickest way to the different tents and so on. I remember my first festival I fought my way through crowds many times to get to a particular stage, to then find out that photographers can take a backstage route!

 

Festivals are generally friendly places, (not all photography environments are!) and I have made some really good friends who are also fellow photographers there. I have helped people out with batteries and memory cards and shooting, as they have me. It’s also nice to be able to work and have someone to talk to and laugh with. It is most definitely still work, but it is great fun too!

 

9 – EARPLUGS

Bring some unless you wish to sacrifice your hearing for the sake of getting your shots! The speakers are designed to project to thousands of people in front of a stage, and you are standing next to them ….figure that one out!

 

10 – TOILETS

Bring sanitiser and tissue, these are festival toilets, need I say more?!! Unless you have VIP tickets, which have assigned cleaners who monitor the tissue, cleanliness etc.

 

Roll on next year, and more festivals!

To book #LensiPhotography to #photograph and #event (#EventPhotographer, #EventPhotographerBirmingham) or #festival (#FestivalPhotography) contact us via our contact sheet or :

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Not one to be in the spotlight Award winning DJ EZ DJ's in no lights focussing on him at the main stage

Not one to be in the spotlight Award winning DJ EZ DJ’s in no lights focussing on him at the main stage

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Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

2015 evicted Big Brother Housemates spotted at Parklife 2015

2015 evicted Big Brother Housemates spotted at Parklife 2015

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Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Jessie Ware performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Manchester, UK

Jessie Ware performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Manchester, UK

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

Crowds enjoying the Parklife 2015 Festival held annually at Heaton Park in Manchester

 

Manchester, UK, 06 June 2015 George Ezra performing live on stage at The Parklife two day festival 2015 at Heaton Park in Manchester © Denise Maxwell/ Alamy Live News

George Ezra performing live on stage at The Parklife two day festival 2015Nas performing live on stage as the headline act at Parklife 2015 Festival in ManchesterNas performing live on stage as the at Parklife 2015 FestivalRudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK

 

Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK

Rudimental

Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival in Heaton Park, Manchester, UK

Rudimental Performing Live on stage at Parklife 2015 Festival

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Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint.

Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester, true to her usual form Grace appears on stage bare chested wearing only body paint. Grace Jones performing live on stage at Parklife 2015 in Manchester

Shooting Wildlife – Gorilla’s in the Mist

Shooting Wildlife

Gorillas in the Mist

I remember seeing Gorilla’s in the Mist in the 1980’s, I actually half did not believe that it was possible to see humans so close to wild Gorillas and them live to tell the tale. It was amazing to imagine a person being able to do this. The film tells the story of Dian Fossey zoologist and anthrapologist who dedicated her life to studying the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, Africa.

 

However, on a wedding commission to Kigali in Rwanda, we got to experience this for ourselves first hand.

 

The National Conservation Trust runs Gorilla treks to see actual wild Gorilla families, this is actually the same place that the film was made, and where Dian Fossey on who the film was based, devoted her life to the study of primates.

 

LICENCE

First you must obtain a license authorising you to do so. There are a limited number of license available each day, so this needs to be planned well in advance. The licenses do not come cheap, although there is a local price for Rwandans.

THE MEET

The day starts very early, 7am meet, where you will meet with other ‘hopefuls’, we have to use this words because not everyone is capable of completing their mission!

 

THE TREK

After a briefing, and introduction to the small group (8 people) that you will be trekking with, do’s and dont’s, you start your trek up a step mountain towards the heavy forested area where they live. This is not an easy feat… even relatively fit people will find themselves stopping for water or a rest, and this trek can continue for any length of time from an hour onwards, depending on how far your family of Gorillas are on that day.

Some of us found ourselves ready to give up, with legs no longer to lift to climb the steep mountain, and as the air gets thinner, an inability to get enough oxygen into your lungs.

 

ARRIVAL

When we finally reach the edge of their habitat, again briefings were reiterated, and suddenly you are filled with such excitement and anticipation that the adrenalin takes away all of the fatigue! We trekked for a further 30 minutes to find out small family, the TITUS family, we came across an adult female, Silverback male, and infant Gorilla.

It is difficult to describe the feeling, you are in the presence of real Gorilla’s!! You are humbled into submission at the greatness of these animals sitting only feet away from you.

Contrary to their depiction in many films, they seem placid, happy to just sit and eat, with the exception of the infant who runs around playing, even curiously touching the leg of one of us. As long as you do not impinge on them, and show them the respect they command in their own environment, they allow the temporary trespass of these strangers on their territory.

We follow them around for a while, in true jungle environments, the guides using machetes to cut trees and branches and other foliage to clear some sort of path for us, each new member of the family that we come across is as exciting as the last.

It is a true once in a lifetime experience.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

I would have loved to bring every lens I had and could possibly use, however, practicalities. The trek is gruelling, if I could have done without carrying water I would have, just for the additional loss of weight. I carried one camera body and two lenses, and in the end, I wish I had carried just the one! A great range telephoto zoom is all you need. I carried one of the less expensive bodies for fear of a Gorilla taking my camera and me not being able to do anything about it!

 

 

Commercial Business Photography in Walsall – Construction Hoardings

Commercial Business Photography in Walsall – Construction Hoardings

Commercial Business Photography in Walsall by Lensi Photography.

We worked with Walsall Housing Group on a Project to provide commercial business photography in Walsall for hoardings that were about to grace one of their local areas that were having new housing constructed.

We are all used to seeing the plain white hoardings, aren’t they a little boring? So we decided to bring a little interest to the boards that will protect the buildings site in the Goscote Area Regeneration, with Commercial Business Photography in Walsall by photographing local residents whose images would feature on each boards.

Photographs of local people!?? Yes!

Photographs of people who are well known in the area, people who great achievements, people who work in the area. We came up with something like this ….

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Something bright vibrant and relevant to the area. Photographs of local people that everyone would recognise and be able to relate to.

If you are a building company, or construction company that are working on a construction site that you would like to brighten up with photography that local people can relate to, why not contact us for a quote.

We also provide Commercial Business Photography in Walsall and beyond for all aspects of your marketing, press and advertising.

 

If you are looking for a Commercial Business Photographer in Walsall for any photography needs for your business, contact us for a quote.

#BusinessPhotography #BusinessPhotographyWalsall #ConstructionWalsall

Fashion Photography – London Mens Collections SS15

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Fashion Photography – London Mens Collections SS15

This was our first time covering London Mens Collections for an Agency.

First thoughts, much smaller than fashion week. This (as in fashion) has to be one of the few exceptions worldwide that we can think of where the female version is bigger with a higher profile (we are thinking of football as one example).

For Fashion Photography London Mens collections however had all the usual markings of fashion week, weird and wonderful and ahead of time street style, catwalks in different venues with photographers having a good workout during all the days (lugging a Peli case and equipment to and from various venues, stairs and all) enchanced accreditation for the higher profile designers (Moschino, Burberry, Hackett and the like) and photographers packed into a tiny press pit, which makes you want to warn all up and coming photographers, if you have an issue with personal space, do not think of press or fashion photography.

The space situation often sees us straddling or being straddled by complete strangers in a bit to get the best space.

Also there are the procedures of mark ups, where photographers get to set their positions beforehand days before the event, it seems as though not all photographers get this, if this is the case they have to find and make spaces when the event arrives around all the photographers that have their pre marked positions.

As for the fashion, our favourite show was the clean lines of Oliver Spencer, coupled with their introduction of Brazillian Carnival dancers and drums into the show.

If you would like to commission us to photograph your catwalk, lookbook or model portfolio contact us for details